WritingDancing | with Artists

Guy Dartnell, Miguel Pereira and Rosalind Crisp: extracts from collected writings in skript
in collaboration with Jane Bacon and Vida Midgelow
Choreographic Practices Journal 5.1, 2014

Guy Dartnell, Miguel Pereira and Rosalind Crisp presented work as part of NottDance Festival 2013, Nottingham, UK. They each became co-authors in skript – a micro-installation for collaborative encounters and writing-dancing. What follows are extracts from some of the collected writings emerging from these encounters, their performances and some reflections on the process, revealing creative thinking and embodied performance experience at work.

The extracts are published here as they were written in real time, in the moment of collaboration. They are edited only for length and at times to correct typographical errors (but only if the errors seemed to disturb the flow of the ideas) rather than to simply ‘tidy’ the text or the grammar. The writings are relational, improvisational and at times fragmentary and are perhaps best read in conjunction with the companion essay ‘Closer to the Body: Reflections of skript’ (Choreographic Practices. 2014).

For more writings see blog: www.writing-dancing.blogspot.com

Guy Dartnell, Inward Out (14th March, 2014)

Inward Out is a participatory event which invites people to connect with the themselves and each other through the dual process of meditation and observation – two different yet similar experiences. The work was devised by performance maker Guy Dartnell and produced by Dance4.

Guy’s work spans the realms of theatre, music, dance, circus and film and he has particular interests in healing, meditation and process work – striving to integrate these influences into his performance work – as is evident in Inward Out. Blending together meditation and ‘performance’ – the offers a space for the audience-participators to meditate or observe. The piece is durational, lasting up to 4 hours and takes place within a matrix of mats and chairs, with blankets and cushions on them; and a walking space around the edge for when people need to ‘stretch their legs’. There are a number of ‘artists’ present, who ‘hold’ the space, but they are unrecogniseable from anybody else and are involved in exactly the same activity.
(See: http://guydartnell.macmate.me)

skript 020514: While remembering performing and participating in Inward Out, Guy Dartnell (UK)
I am waiting. Trying not to wait. Trying to disappear. No not trying. Trying is not important. Nothing to try for. This is for me as much as for those who have come…are coming…I hope…If I can be, then maybe they can BE too. If I can’t BE, then why am I here. I am relaxing now. I am reassured of how unimportant I am, even though I’m in charge. Opening my eyes, I see I am not alone. There are more people in the space. They have appeared magically from nowhere…from my shut eyes….ahhhh…..ahhhh…the sun coming through the skylight, illuminating the library…god, it is golden…this is the most beautiful place in the world…this is the world….shut my eyes….breathing….that’s so cliched…’feel your breath’…f**k my breath…feeling…dark, volume, depth, far, far, near, head, breath, f**k my breath, calm, tense, tense, long, blue, bluish, blurred, round……..
as I sit here, now, reading these words, I am filled with the memory of the experience. The sun streaming in, the vast space of the light room and the vast interior space within me which holds dark and light, all that is and nothing that is. This is being? Is this being? Is this all?
I see my friend now. My friend is here. That’s nice. That’s frightening. You are my friend. But I am confused. Should I take care of you. You don’t need taking care of. You can take care of yourself. I am helpless. I want you to ENJOY it but I have no power. I have no power even over my own experience. Why should I worry about you? Somehow it means more to me that my friend should have a GOOD TIME than anybody else. I must forget that you are my friend. You are not my friend. I must free you from that. I must free me from that. Good bye friend. Eyes shutting. Goodbye friend. Liquid. Patterns..
by Jane and Guy, 2nd May 2014.

Guy Dartnell, Reflecting on skript:
It is interesting to write about [Inward Out] because it felt close to the experience that i have when I am doing Inward Out – the thought process. Although Inward Out is supposed to be a space where you don’t have to think but inevitably, for me and I don’t know about anyone else, I do seem to end up thinking quite a lot because of the particular nature of the experience. Because it is about thought and about not thinking about feeling. So the writing together does seem to summon up the experience of what it was like in the performance in a way that might not have done if we had just talked about the performance.

As we were writing I remembered the light in the space in the Drill Hall Lincoln and that space became really really present for me in the moment of writing. I could really see it and feel it and I could really feel again the atmosphere and the way the sun coming up and down really affected the way that room was.

What is difficult still is trying to use the words to illuminate the experience on a felt level. It is interesting to try and do it. How do you write or try and give the essence of what I was experiencing other than what I was thinking? Of course, there is something interesting in the struggle to try and do it and then there is also the point when I go – it feels like these words will never convey to you or the reader what it was like.
by Guy, 2nd May 2014

Miguel Pereira, Opus 49 (12th March, 2013)

Miguel Pereira, described as one of the enfants terribles of Portuguese dance, has worked with Jérôme Bel, Vera Mantero and Francisco Camacho. His work is often autobiographical and draws on the interests and lives of those he collaborates with. His work employs text, both in speaking and in its absence, and also plays with the expectations of dance – its virtuosity, the requirement of movement and the importance of the body.

For Opus 49, co-produced by Dance4, Miguel was inspired by the story of an amateur artist and her relationships to dance and music. Part experiment, part testimonial, the theatre becomes a space where new connections open up with the artist and audience through memory, architecture and interaction.[insert image of Opus 49]

skript 120413: After watching and performing Opus 49, Miguel Pereira (Portugal)
…I recall a darkened theatre. I am surrounded by people. A figure appears with a microphone.
It’s me, in the dark trying to perceive the void. the emptiness…yes
Ah yes, he walks, moves slowly, gingerly perhaps. what, where…sound…no sound…
yes sound, there’s no silence!
even if i’m looking for nothing!
my fingers are searching for the right moment, the subtle movement as the microphone is searching for something in to the void space, the theatre space where i should dance but where i feel empty. Should we dance? She dances, I watch her stand and she dances, knees bending, arms pumping above her head to the loud music. Was there loud music? Did she dance? I feel
maybe! in her head there’s loud music even if she’s stand, quiet, but there’s something always moving, the heart pumping??? giving the impression of something alive at least. The shapes and sound of no sound, the shape of no dancing but dancing. The darkness and void, yet the playfulness of that. The flap, flapping of your belt, the crashing of your body or the chairs, those lovely, cheap, Ikea chairs.
the body is in contact with something, with it’s own space against other spaces and this produces the sound, like the wind exists when it goes against a space, a wall, a window, our own bodies, sometimes it’s cheap spaces, sometimes heavy and hard spaces.
And sometimes the space gives rise to a movement, a moving floor, a floor moving, undulating, a darkness that does not feel like the wind. Who or what is here?
movement, sound, body, space, existing always since we’re alive and it can be a virtual space as the space where we are right now. here and now.
yes, imagination, it’s the word, dancing, smoking, writing, leaving, existing by the imagination. Sometimes we just need that, perceiving the invisible existence! existing invisibly???? as i wanted to do in my solo. Say more?, disappearing…just the trace of my presence, just my heart pumping, could you listen my heart pumping? I hear footsteps, inhalation, exhalation, heavy breathing with more steps, silence, more silence…if i fall into that silence now as memory I hear your heart, feel your heart but then…then there was more outer material elements of you rather than inner essence or material. The dance of the heart…
confronting my inner world with the outside world, that’s it, with heart dancing dancing dancing…till the moment that it will stop. And darkness falls, we fall into the void…into the nothing…or maybe that is when falling cannot fall…when the void is void, nothing is nothing…where falling, walking, smoking, breathing, waiting, listening….stop. turn the microphone off. stop capturing, given up, abandoned, going away…but still existing.
by Jane and Miguel, 12th April, 2013.

skript 050313: While watching an online version of the live performance of Opus 49 by Miguel Pereira (Portugal)
jiggling, as i sit here in stillness…i feel your jiggling belt your microphone captures the image of you in my mind ear…i jiggle too…
the floor keeps moving, i sit and sit and sit…he falls and falls and falls. the music begins to fade. i see the fade, hear the fade, see the emptiness, the openness of possibilities. i notice the space behind my eyes and just above my eyelids. as the sound fades i feel a weight in my chest, close my eyes and wait.
coldness, darkness. the shadows of the space, on his skin in the tinny reverberations of the space… the sound is everywhere, overpowering my other senses. pulling me- like a physical tug from a rope to different places. and yet my bones, my dark shadowy bones scream with the falling, the falling of the chair, i am a chair falling. catch me if you can. catch me as i fall. shattering into bits, i shatter, i shudder. the destruction, wasted, violence.
Sitting with him and he with us..i hold the microphone…hold it out to you…to hear your bones, hearing makes me see better…my moving is my seeing…my feeling is my hearing…And as he searches the space, his body, our bodies, my body for their own songs the muscles in by belly tense… will the song emerge? what will it lead too…
Stepping forward i feel a tentative creeping, a sensing out, a peeking into the darkness, and then, bam… the sound of the space and the very walls hit me. the sounds take their own journey into me, into my sitting bones, into my seat. do you feel sound in your bones? The sound seems to make me see more clearly, sounding as seeing…searching out the sounds, searching for what…the dancing…the dancing molecules…i feel into the darkness, my own emptiness and expectation. what do i want from him? what is he doing? can i find what he is looking for, what he wants me to see/hear? him punches the space,,, the boy boxer rasping the breathe of the air across the mic rushing as his gestures sway through him, me. the punch punch… punch pa pa pa… all boy…papa…can you see me?
throwing a chair, beating it, bashing it, bashing, beating…the microphone draws me in, my eyes become sonic, i find myself wondering is the microphone on?
pa pa pa…bash…crash…bam…bam…bam…but she is there too…it is her dance… a dance for her…her manchester…her music…her…me…she…yes, she is very there too… she story, her story the manchester of her memories, and is the sounds of the space ours, hers, theirs? who is the beat beat beat of the marching song?
by Vida and Jane, 5th March 2013

Miguel Pereira, Reflecting on skript:
i’m trying to build something with my fingers against the keyboard, thinking in a language that’s not my own language but trying to find the right movement for a strange space. Yes, and a stranger…can we build something together…your language and mine…both fingers…both keyboards…both and more…We build something together and it’s in the intersection between your knowledge and mine about english and between your knowledge and mine of Opus 49. I watch. I watch and I do, simultaneously, as i think and i act at the same time, i’m an observer and i’m an actor as in Opus 49, searching for this “in between”. In this very interesting collaboration moment, about memories and dancing…and existing!
by Miguel, 12th April, 2013

Rosalind Crisp, ≠espèces (and other improvised dances) (17th March, 2013)

Australian choreographer and dancer, Rosalind Crisp, established the Omeo Dance Studio in Sydney, 1996, as a place of residence for her research and site for the development of a community of dance artists in Sydney and currently spends her time between Australia and France.

The improvisation work ≠espèces was presented as part of NottDance, March 2013. This performance is part of Rosalind’s on-going exploration of improvised performance, ‘d a n s e’, and focuses attention on the emergent process of the dancers’ movement, asking them to notice the continually evolving material of their dancing and to co-exist in this field. In this practice she seeks to engage the audience in an immediate and visceral exchange through their bodies and their senses.
(see: http://www.omeodance.com/)[insert image of Roslind crisp]

skript 170303: After watching and performing a live improvisation, #especes, Rosalind Crisp (AUS)
the space between you me us… moving reaching your arms out,, searching (re)searching!
the corner frames you , eyes all cast over me, away from you to him. but i
dwell with you …

your head curved to the side, my neck rotating, twisting to see feel your movement as the arms extend the back curving. breath heavy behind me. ha,,, ho, pheewww. the feet pa pa ba, pa.. him as sound for you. your music . laughter.
in front of me he drops, foot held in hand. an in take of my breathe. i notice in myself the capturing of the picture. hold it vida, the moment pauses in my minds eye. the foot held in hand, leg at 90%. an image to be recalled. replayed. re re replayed. the comfort between them resonates in the room. he and she. the rock and roll comes back like an old friend, ally. yes the rock roll rolling hands.[…].,ratbag. the play the connection resonates in us we feel you’re connected. the solos too much extraneous movement. but in your parting.. in your distance across the room i feel his sound in your dance and your dance in his sound…[…] we don’t know the limits of this work.
by Ros and Vida, 17th March, 2013

skript 140313: While watching an online version of the live performance, #especes, by Rosalind Crisp (AUS)
articulating, articulate bodies. four of them, no five. a black space. the lights go off and come on. come on and go off. articulating space. i feel a familiar rhythm of continuous movement, the torso caves in, ribs shift to one side, a leg lifts, toes splay outward and up. down to the floor, smoothly moving as if seamless, jointless. working in the fluid of the body, the fluid body goes to the floor without bone.[…] arms and limbs not quite…quite their/there. reaching to drop, and as i write i feel the pauses and not quiteness of my own patterns.. my own hestitations pause. and move again. darkening the space the sound of a lift, how does a lift sound. a sounding lift. lifting sound. my heavy body weighted to my chair struggles to hear a sounding lift.[…]we find our way in space with our moving body… i see the space unfolding, retreating and re-appearing. i see you move in and with the spaces, arms, torsos, legs, heads…all jostling with the space, all equally drawing my attention. the jostling, wiggling between each other, between the detail of the fingers, legs over the head, toe coming in to contact…[…] all we have is what is there. and all i have is what is here. i dance. my torso rises and falls. my hands move across the keyboard as if a hand were a full body, complex articulations appearing and disappearing. i dance.
by Jane and Vida, 14th March, 2013

skript 141013: Writing with Ros Crisp after dancing (UK/AUS)[…] I started with what I know, breath, listening to my breath, adding some tone to my breath, and slowness, each beginning of a movement slowed right down so that I could catch the breeze, the slippery dive under one arm and yet there down on my heel was another calling. Gradually my attention got in step with my moving imaging sensing… then along came tone. I love tone, I’m addicted to tone, pick it up, drop it, squeeze it, sound came out, word, queen elizabeth; each audience member gave me a different permission, by the sixth I was over the hill an far away, deep into complex mad changes and shifting bits, all mobilised, voila.
yes the detail, the ‘choreography’ is there underneath or guiding. Its what I trust. body part, direction, tone, speed, interruption, flow, fall, weight, breath. And then the animal , the tricks can or might fly up. I never expect them or start with them. Actually I don’t know where they reside, but I know they might come out to play if I go so multi mutli! with the visceral, the matter (ie my body). the body at the centre, at the start and end….
yes, and saturation is a delicious condition. That’s why I dance, I suppose.
Everything is possible, there is enormous permission once my senses sensations are full bodied. Saturation, it feels a full word, weighty…

…saturation might sound like a global thing , whereas for me it is constantly specific, I mean saturation is all over, all in me, all in the space and between the toes of the writing, but and yet a twitch a shoulder a long arm a line drops , a tiny space shifts, arghhh words are not it, details each moment is different to the next, even thought here is saturation (which anyway is changing) there is a detail that sticks out.
And is it that detail within the deep saturation that you follow? what kind of detail might it be?
That’s what I’m struggling to find the words for . A detail of a surface of my body or a space that open between two bones or a sensation that slips under my chin or a picture of all my extremities at once… millions of details, that I can prolong, respond to , transfer to elsewhere in my body, exaggerate, oppose, leave… all this choreographing going on from the sensation saturated monster. These sensations, anatomical details that reside, call, stock out… developing through compositional details — they feel rich in me as i watch, as i dance with you.[…]… the richness of choreographic thinking/doing sings loudly to me… can you say/feel what moment what detail might lead to a thickening or a diving under??!
It would be something to do with appetite for change. Thickening because before it was thin and I have trained myself to have an appetite for change, for noticing what texture, tone, direction, body part, image, I haven’t used for a while, for the last minute! Contrast, pleasure, surprise, surprise myself by the contradiction of thin and thick of my response to my own absurdity, elizabeth, what’s she doing here?! So this ‘drives’ me to laugh about it in dancing. Choreography as a continual pleasure of with, against, ..blah blah hee hee.
by Ros and Vida, 14th October 2013

Rosalind Crisp with Vida, Reflecting on skript:
..and i am wondering about words and writing too as a way to follow and come to know bodies…. I think when I write, label, find words, change words, what I am doing, how i am sensing and understanding what I do, who i am changes too.
I am sitting looking at words here and thinking what this finding of words, this putting them onto a screen ‘does’? does for you? Well it is a little bit like dancing; I feel like I’ve ‘met’ you again or rather communicated myself to you by telling you what I’m engaged in now. So it feels a bit like having done a dance for you. yes. and i keep thinking about the difference between this and having a conversation… it feels different to me, but i haven’t sorted it out as yet – but yes. closer to having you dance for/with me perhaps. Yes its different to a conversation, because it’s silent. I love this, I can give all my attention to feel what your words are doing to me. This is like watching a dance. And also the slowness of the appearance of the words (speed of typing) allows time to follow, to notice. It’s not filled up with the all the other sensations when being with someone, what they are wearing, where the sunlight is, how old they are… etc. I love this cleanness where you come into my living room. listening in the silence of the words.
there is something intimate too. in this process of writing, of being with you (but not). Yes private, and very personal. [..]… it is like the potential that taking time in a studio offers too perhaps… Yes, the time it needs…
Might you be able to reflect on how the process ‘works’ for you??? I think it’s all about ‘holding’ the sensations; So when I’m writing in response to you, it triggers a sensation, and I try to let the words run. The easiest of this ‘flow’ is when I talk about my dancing, because I feel I am doing it when I talk and the ‘word’ come from the doing. I suppose it’s the same organisation in my brain body system as when I am doing the dance; hence why I spoke about today’s sensation-images, because they are still accessible to my body memory. I like reaching for the words. This process is very exciting, I need to concentrate, like when dancing to hit the right note…
by Ros and Vida, 2nd April, 2014


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